Don’t Look Back

Written by James Wolff

To the press-drop coffee machine on the top floor,

to the garbage man alone at home,

to the faux leather couch on the side of the road,

to the neo-theory student banded waist-high

on a map that can’t lead her home,

 

to the bra straps broken and bent,

the fathers who don’t know their baby is alive and well,

the blind-sided racists caught in morning traffic,

the deep mining facilities taking men in their sleep,

and the ceiling fixtures humming away:

 

I want to create a world where it’s okay to be you

in all your multitude, in all your drunkenness, and

in as many styles as will cloudscapes allow, given

a mellow and warming meal under the stars on

Tuesday night; except when there is rain and fury

 

in the sky, or some such lightning to whither the

future a razor’s edge, cutting you back into your home,

spouting truck fumes with no mind to consequence,

so that now we can hear your neighbor crying, “No!

Damn the nature of it all!” in the distance behind your

 

Chevrolet painted blue with a gloss trim yet petals

fall all over it like you’ve not touched it for years

on end, or at least since the depression—not the

great depression either, I’m talking about the one

back in sixth grade—though we mustn’t look back

 

to when you so hesitantly disassembled car engines

and took candy from the shelves (Rocky Road bars)

of corner stores, but never the same one twice,

because that was way too risky, especially when

you weren’t even confident enough to steal the

 

smiles from your neighbor down the road who kept

his end of the deal and bugged you every day until

you couldn’t stand it anymore, and forced you to move

a town south just so you’d stop crying at night, thinking

it will never be okay to be me.

 

James Wolff, a third-year psychology major, likes to  write poetry, hike, and play acoustic guitar.

James Wolff, a third-year psychology major, likes to write poetry, hike, and play acoustic guitar.

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